The number of wild Whooping Cranes
wintering along the Texas Gulf Coast increased
this year. Earlier in the month, a census revealed 224 cranes (182 adults, 42 young) at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
. That's four more birds than last year's total.
Stehn said the rare nature of these birds brings tourists from all over the country. About 80,000 people visit the refuge each year and the majority come for the whoopers.Whooping Crane courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
"That's half the story that they were once so rare," he said. "But they symbolize man stepping in to save a species, and symbolize what man can do if we make up our minds to save something."